Posts Tagged ‘SFMTA’

SFMTA vs. Lyft and Uber Drivers: Forget About Turning Left or Right onto Market Betwixt 3rd and 8th – Orwellian SMS

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Let’s see if I can pay off on the headline here.

This is the Safer Market Street proposal, which used to be a part of Better Market Street? Hey, is SFS a kind of “chop shop project,” the likes of which is the SFMTA’s excuse for not doing anything until it gets a more massive project implemented? And it’s to support “Vision Zero” 2024? (That. of course, is the promise of absolute transportation safety. It will fail only after the terming our of our Interim Mayor and all the Members of the Board of Supervisors. Not a single promoter of Vision Zero actually believes we’ll get to zero transportation deaths, / injuries on or near Market Street or anywhere else in town, within nine years, or ever at all…)

Now here’s what I’m talking about not being able to make turns – all those red arrows show what you won’t be able to do anymore:

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Will TNC drivers be banned? Hells yes! That’s the plan last I heard. Will taxi drivers be similarly banned? No, the SFMTA wants to promote taxis and the SFMTA hates, just hates, TNCs.

Note that when the SFMTA calls this proposal a proposal, that means it’s a done deal.

Note that when the SFMTA calls a street a high-injury corridor, it means that the street is a corridor, which is, of course, “a (generally linear) tract of land in which at least one main line for some mode of transport has been built.” Would the SFMTA care to ID a similar number of low injury corridors about town? No? That’s ’cause if a street has a low number of injuries, it isn’t a corridor at all. So, that means that high injury corridor means plain-old corridor. Moving on…

To this – look, the SFMTA has invented, in the Year of Our Lord 2015, a device called a “sign,” ’cause, you know, drivers is stupid.

“WAYFINDING SIGNS Driving on Market Street can be confusing for residents and visitors alike. Wayfinding signs help drivers “find their way” to specific areas while on the move. To avoid confusion while driving through this area, we want to ensure signs pointing to destinations are easily visible and understandable for drivers to safely navigate through the streets. Signs will be posted on streets surrounding Market to give drivers enough time to plan their approach. Special attention will be given to popular destinations, including off-street parking and major roadways. Using iconic San Francisco destinations and simplistic designs, these wayfinding signs would help keep cars moving and enhance the City’s unique visual identity.”

And did you catch that? Why should our SFMTA use a simple word like “simple,” when it can use a $5 word like “simplistic,” you know, facile? Does the SFMTA really mean to crittercise it’s Brand New Thing? IDK.

That was the wind-up, now here’s the pitch:

“The City is one step closer to Vision Zero pending SFMTA Board Approval of the Safer Market Street project.

Market Street is the City’s premier civic and commercial corridor hosting hundreds of thousands of people arriving by means of transit, walking, biking or driving. More bikes travel down Market Street than vehicles, making it one of the busiest bikeways west of the Mississippi.

High collision rates, however, also make Market Street a high-injury corridor, with four of the top 20 intersections for pedestrian-injury collisions and the top two intersections for bicycle injury collisions. Safer Market Street is one of over 24 Vision Zero projects being expedited to address the recent spike in fatalities along high-injury corridors such as Market Street. The proposed changes, including a package of turn restrictions, the extension of existing transit-only lanes and supplemental safety treatments, will help the city reach its Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities by improving safety conditions for all users.

The team recently submitted its environmental documentation to the planning department and completed its third round of outreach, in which it met with community organizations and concerned property owners to inform them of the proposed changes and address any questions or concerns.

Years of analysis and outreach to the community have informed the proposed changes and pending the approval of the SFMTA Board of Directors June 16, 2015 construction can begin within the month. The turn restrictions would be unveiled as a package once complete later this fall.

Question or concerns please contact Kate Elliott at kate.elliott@sfmta.com

Date, time and location of SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting:

City Hall Room 400, June 6, 2015 1:00 pm
1 Charles B. Goodlett Drive
San Francisco, CA 94102

ATTENTION ARTISTS: Make Art With Free Metal from the Old East Span – It’s the “Bay Bridge Steel Program” – Apply Now – Steel is Real

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Here’s your link.

“OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA TO ADMINISTER DISTRIBUTION OF SALVAGED STEEL FROM BAY BRIDGE FOR CREATIVE REUSE

OMCA working with Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee to support process of distributing steel from historic landmark for public projects in California”

(more…)

The Latest SFMTA Bus Ads: “I BIKE TO … BURRITOS” & “WE BIKE TO … BRUNCH ON MARKET?”

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Here you go:

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And:

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So let’s see here. The SFMTA isn’t* allowed to endorse, say, Ed Lee for Mayor, but the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, coincidentally, is, as so it did about four years ago and that’s what it’s done/will do again for this “cycle” and that’s kind of funny since SFGov is the SFBC’s biggest benefactor, as evidenced by its giving the SFBC hundreds of thousands of dollars* per year.

And then the SFBC spends* its mad money on SFMTA bus ads, to return the favor, or is it a payment in kind, sort of to say, thanks for endorsing the right-of-center incumbent again*, or maybe somebody else is paying for all these new ads?

Mmmmm…

And this comes at a time of falling membership (from over 12000 in aught-11*) to what, 9000-something* these days?

And what’s the point of the ads? To remind restaurant owners who’s buttering their bread?

OK fine.

*Correct me if I’m wrong here, Gentle Reader

The Infamous Fell Street ARCO Gas Station Offers Helpful Queuing Tips for Its Customers, Via an SFMTA Graphic

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Ah, memories.

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Things are better now, at Fell and Divis, usually. We lost a few parking spaces on Fell, but, you know, the Needs of the Many, yada yada yada…

Our Inefficient, Money-Hungry SFMTA Wants to Start Issuing Speeding Tickets, But Somehow “They Would Not Be Moving Violations?!”

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Oh, this one’s easy  – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:

SFMTA Pushing For Speed Cameras In San Francisco To Improve Pedestrian Safety by Cate Cauguiran

And here’s your nut graf:

“SFMTA plans to present their proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority later this week. The agency says the citations would not be moving violations, and therefore not reportable to the DMV.”

Now let’s review – Papa Homer, what’s a “moving violation?

A moving violation is a violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations.”

So, if the parking ticket agency gives a ticket for speeding, it’s issuing moving violations, right? Now tell us more, Wiki:

While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Yep. And then there’s this:

The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover, are violations of the speed limit.

And what’s the motivation for the SFMTA to float this balloon?

Sometimes tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising

I don’t use the term “speed trap” myself, but, yes, our SFMTA is obsessed with “fundraising,” certainly.

And lastly:

Examples of moving violations: speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed…

Thanks Wiki! And actually, a speeding ticket is the prototypical moving violation, in Frisco and everywhere else too.

Now I’ll tell you, I was surprised earlier this year to see the SFMTA issuing “block the box” tickets, because sometimes the SFMTA DPT shows up at an intersection during rush hour to unblock the box, not to make money from block boxing. And yet, here you go:

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This is a DPT PCO in the middle of the intersection of Bush and Sansome shooting fish in a barrel – busting three vehicles, and then she was Gone In 60 Seconds.

And I thought, well, I suppose the drivers here are parked since they’re idling away, motionless, for a long time, so sure, ticket away, SFMTA, even though you’ve timed the lights to exacerbate this situation, but anyway, sure, these are parking tickets, fine.

But if you want to start issuing moving violation tickets, you shouldn’t lie about it. (I’ll tell you, sometimes I can’t tell if the SFMTA lies on purpose or if it just doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

Now, here’s my MODEST PROPOSAL - traffic cameras for pedestrians, mounted over crosswalks. The cameras would record all the peds who jump the light by starting across a second or two early and then a ticket for $100 would get mailed to the offenders after facial recognition ID’s the peds. (Gentle Reader, did you know that most ped deaths last year on the Streets of San Francisco were the fault of the peds themselves? It’s sort of a secret. It wasn’t a blowout or anything, the peds “won” this competition by 50-something percent, vs. the drivers’ 40-something percent, but isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think, that enforcing the vehicle code upon peds, as unpopular as this might be, could reduce traffic deaths more than how SFGov has handled matters up ’til now? Anyway, I’m talking about how the SFPD apportioned ped deaths in SF in 2014. But don’t talk about it, oh no – that might get you transferred to the Airport Detail, srsly. And bonus! Our new ped cams could “also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby.” Moving on…)

Of course, the reason why SFGov wants to go Full Orwell is that paying sworn officers to issue tickets is inefficient and expensive. OTOH, an automatic system, backed up by an appeals mechanism to make everything constitutional, could generate tons of money for the SFMTA, like almost as much as its Household Transit Tax fantasy that it would impose on you, Gentle Reader, in a New York minute, if it could. (It’s what Ed Reiskin dreams of at night – your transit tax would be added to your tax returns, easy peasy, what a dream!)

Anyway, I think saying that a moving violation isn’t is worthy of five Orwells, on a scale of zero to five Orwells:

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All the way to the bottom, Maggie SFMTA – you’ve made it!

The SFMTA’s Current Approach to Bikes in the Broadway Tunnel Doesn’t Seem Better Than the Old Approach

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

After years of work and study…

BROADWAY TUNNEL BICYCLE PROJECT: Staff has sent a work order to
the Signal Shop to have the bicycle symbol flash when turned on. (No
updates)

…this the result, eastbound – a blank, nonsensical, K-Mart-looking diamond what lights up when cyclists are sensed in the BT:

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The old method of alerting drivers was similar, but it actually made sense to drivers when it wasn’t operating.

(The SFMTA seems to think that dreaming up crazy new ideas is its obligation – if you’ve never seen things before anywhere else in the world, that’s proof that the SFMTA is showing “leadership,” apparently)

Now here it is when it’s actually working, which I’ve never seen before, courtesy of Google Maps (from the northern lane – G gives you a choice):

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The big issue is how to handle bikes in the tunnel.

My method, westbound, from Chinesetown, is to walk the bike unless I see the rare ped, and then I dismount and stop while the ped passes me. In practice, this usually means riding all the way through. I think this is agin the current rules, but I don’t think I’m risking getting a ticket or anything.

Now eastbound is a different story, since the grade is generally working your way. The technique is to wait for a wave of traffic to go through and then enter when drivers idle at the red at Larkin. You’ll have a few cars pass you, but that’s better than just blithely ignoring traffic the way most do. Or, you can just ride on the sidewalk, remembering that you’re a second-class citizen when doing so.

Anyway, it seems that the generally dull-witted SFMTA is sophisticated enough to understand that going east and west is different thang here, so that’s good.

So do we want to encourage people to ride through this tunnel? IDK. I’ll tell you, westbound, uphill on the Geary Tunnel is worse and the Stockton Tunnel is way better.

I don’t know what the options are at the Broadway Tunnel. I’m sure most of them are very expensive…

Oh, So This is Why San Francisco Has a Gigantic, Wasteful, Expensive, Underfunded, Profitable Street-Sweeping Program

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Here’s a block on Laguna:

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Of course most blocks in San Francisco get swept waaaaaay too often, even after the recent relaxation in scheduling that some areas enjoy.

So my conclusion is that street-sweeping isn’t 100% a scam for SFGov to make money, it’s just mostly a scam. And who’s going to pay for health care for street sweeper workers a half decade from now? Well, that’s SEP (Someone Else’s Problem), that’s something for the Next Mayor to work out…

Surprise! Bicycle Use in San Francisco Has Stopped Growing on a Per Capita Basis, Per This Official Report

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Here it is, a brand-new SFMTA PDF, published in May 2015:

Annual Bicycle Count Survey 2014

And here’s your nut graf, on the topic of Bicycle Use, as seen on Page 5:

“2013 vs 2014: … 1% increase.”

And here’s your summary, also seen on Page 5:

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Now let’s add in a little population growth in the 2013-2014 period:

It’s boom time in San Francisco: Population, jobs are growing

And all this adds up to the headline above.

(And, coincidentally, these are the days of falling membership at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, from a claimed “over 12,000″ to well less than 10,000 these days.)

What can explain this all?

There’s no SF Bicycle Plan injunction preventing new construction these days – that ended a while back, right?

And the weather – the weather the past few years has probably been most bike-friendly since before the First San Francisco Bicycle Boom back in the 1800’s.

Here’s the reaction so far – I’ll show all that I can find, which isn’t all that much:

Grab your pom poms:

Tim Papandreou ‏@tpap_ May 15 2014 SF bike count report is up! 206% increase in cycling since 2006! Go team!”

So I guess we’d call this spin? I mean this report, or something like it, comes out every year, right? And we already knew* about the Great Fixie Craze Of The Late Aughts what made bikes cool again, so why focus upon what we already knew? The new news here, the actual news, is that Bicycle Use in San Francisco Has Stopped Growing on a Per Capita Basis, right? Moving on…

…to this, from Stuart Rob Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse Square Cow Fun Bar District Five Diary

Bicycle count report: “Bicycle use slowed down with 1% increase”

The bicycle Count report: A closer look

I should point out that a “1% increase” is an actual increase and not a “decrease.” And also, the reported increase is actually a little bit more than 1.5% IRL, so that’s on a par with the population increase over the same period – I mean, it’s a really close call here. The big point is that the recent era of rapid growth has ended.

I can see why SFGov wanted to delay this news until Bike To Work Day 2015…

*Or I should say I already knew, since I have more years decades hours miles on a bike in San Francisco than you, Gentle Reader, or anybody at the SFBC, or anybody at the SFMTA for that matter. Yes, bike use in SF is way up since the 1980’s, since the 1990’s, since the mid-aughts, yes, freely conceded.

The “Innovation Capital of the World” Uses Old-School Tech: Leaning Over with a Piece of Chalk at the End of a Stick

Friday, May 15th, 2015

There are pros and cons, of course, to using a stick to chalk-mark car tyres and then coming back two or three hours later to see if the car has moved away, in accordance with the 415’s infamous Residential Parking Permit Program.

Here’s what it looks like:

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An actual world capital of innovation would employ GPS and license plate scanners, these days, right?

Anyway, on the pro side, this method works, sort of. What some people do to stick it to the man is to rub off the chalk marks to buy a few more hours of free parking, until the next round of SFMTA marking and checking, but that’s agin the rules – you could get in trouble for that, one supposes.

On the con side, our PCO’s are routinely Bending Over with Piece of Chalk at the End of a Stick. The reason why it costs our SFMTA an excessive amount of money to run the RPP program is because there’s no market discipline at work here, there’s no incentive for the SFMTA to save money because of how CA state law works, oh well.

Anyway, just because your Interim Mayor says that your town is the “Innovation Capital of the World” doesn’t necessarily mean that your town is actually the “Innovation Capital of the World”

What This, Church Goers Regularly Illegally Double-Park ALL DAY LONG on Bush Street, with the Blessing of the SFMTA and SFGov?

Monday, May 11th, 2015

This is where this ride was parked on the left side of Bush in the Western Addition on a Saturday morning, around brunch time:

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And here it is, after being moved forward a couple car lengths, on the same day, around dinner time (Early Bird dinner time, anyway):

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I’d always wondered about how long people double park on San Francisco’s Major Eastbound Substitute Freeway and now I have my answer. People aren’t just popping in for a service, they’re blocking traffic all the live-long day.

A few notes:

1. Jesus Christ! I mean, WWJD? Or WWJP, WHERE WOULD JESUS PARK? ‘Cause I sure as Hell don’t think He’d illegally double-park his chariot like this all day all day.

2. Let’s talk about Time, Place, and Manner: I myself double-park, but not on fucking Bush, which is half of the Bush-Pine Corridor, which has one-way streets and 30 MPH speed limits for a reason.

3. I myself double-park, but not for eight fucking hours at a stretch.

4. I myself double-park, but not two fucking feet from an intersection, ’cause when Parishioners do that they force the hundreds and hundreds of cars that get stalled over the course of a day into an intersection, and that’s not good, right?

5. Obviously, this double-parking behavior has become institutionalized by San Francisco gov’mint, so perhaps these pious Prius owners don’t realize how much they’ve been sinning. But let’s check it, from Katrina Schwartz of KQED:

Why Doesn’t San Francisco Enforce Double Parking on Sundays?

Now she’s talking about Sundays and I’m talking about Saturdays, but it’s the same deal, right?

Oh, and check out this bon mot, Gentle Reader:

“Are you seeing the contradiction here? Double parking is still illegal on Sundays, but the SFMTA has rules for how churches should manage their double parking.”

Indeed.

6. Our SFMTA, operator of MUNI, America’s Slowest Big City Transit System, might be working on a fix, a fix that might actually earn some money for the SFMTA to boot, but this fix could take years, so the current course is to say, oh, give us more money, oh, we can’t afford to enforce traffic laws on the weekends, oh we’ve let a bunch of Work Rules build up over the decades, so we’re inefficient as all get out, so, oh give us more money. SFGov is basically saying, “So sue us.” Like with “Mount” Davidson, the highest point in town – there was a Christian Cross on public land for decades and SFGov told San Franciscans to Go To Hell if they didn’t like it. (I myself wondered how this sitch could possibly be constitutional when I first came here.) So the upshot was that, finally, somebody sued SFGov, and won, and now that land aint private anymo’. The same thing with calling cell phone taxes “fees” to be able to generate ever more revenue for SFGov without troubling to get permission – somebody sued SFGov and now our cell phone taxes are properly called cell phone taxes. Simply, SFGov is in denial over this issue because it doesn’t want to get sued.

7. And hey, speaking of churches in the Western Addition, Jim Jones had a church on Geary a few blocks down the hill and he had SFGov wrapped around his finger. Here’s a snip:

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I’m not suggesting that Mayor Willie Brown is failing us now as much as he was back in the 1970’s when he was in the Assembly, but this is yet another example of a failure of San Francisco democracy.

Anyway, this is How We Live in 2015.